I am 51 years old and still concerned about what my Mom thinks about my decisions. It took a long time for me to accept that I (a grown woman) can stand up to her without it being perceived as disrespectful. The hesitation comes as a result of my Haitian upbringing. While other parents would flip out if their kids did not look them in the eyes (a sign they were being dishonest or shady) when they were being addressed or reprimanded, my Haitian mother instilled the opposite. In essence, direct eye contact was a sign of defiance, aggression, confrontation. Eyes down, head low when being spoken to. Noncompliance led to punishment.
That way of life made for quite a learning curve as I got older. I had to completely change my way of thinking, as well as my behavior. I had to learn how to distinguish being disrespectful from being confident and standing up for myself. Eventually, the latter behavior became ingrained in my personality, and I had no trouble whatsoever going toe to toe with anyone or charging someone up who did not address me with the requisite level of deference.
Yet, even with this confidence, self-actualization, and indomitable (albeit learned) propensity to demand (and command) respect, I was uneasy about telling my mother I was cutting off my hair and going natural. My Mom (and Dad), for years, equated success as an Anchor/television personality with how I looked. Dress impeccably, be meticulously groomed, and maintain my relaxed hair. Every time I trimmed my ends my Dad insisted I had chopped all my hair off! The. Drama.
I finally summoned up the nerve to tell my Mom I was committed to going natural and as soon as I could get into my hairdresser after the stay-at-home order was lifted, I was going to cut it down to the new growth (which at this point is about two inches). To my surprise, she was extremely supportive! I should mention that she has not relaxed her hair for some time, mostly because her arthritis makes it difficult for her to sit in one position for too long so going to a stylist was out of the question. She still argued though, an Anchor had to “look” a certain way so the option for me was not even a consideration.
Since I began working for myself things have changed.
My Mom and Dad have always been proud of me. Still, in the past year or so, their pride is not driven so much by what I do (as a profession), but who I am as a woman and the person I continue to become. As I grow mentally and physically, I am shedding any and everything that even remotely conforms, acquiesces, or submits to what is considered a status quo. Whether it’s at work, with friends, family, or strangers, I present Liz Faublas—unfiltered, uncensored, and fearless– and you can take her or leave her. Transitioning into my “natural” will become the crowning glory of this journey toward complete self-love (pun intended).
Having that conversation with my Mom was one of the greatest moments we have shared. It was not about getting her approval. It was about having her love and support and reaffirming my mother loved and accepted her daughter no matter what. I had no idea this “journey” would yield so many breakthroughs. I thought I would cut my hair, make it pretty, and move on.
Man, was I wrong!
And so, the journey toward the big chop continues…